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Melika Amiri from Uxbridge has been voted the best swimming teacher in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham winning the first round of a national competition.

Melika, 23, teaches at Phoenix Fitness Centre and Janet Adegoke Swimming Pool almost every day of the week across a range of classes, from Pre School 1 all the way up to adults classes as well as regularly supporting the Women’s Only sessions, private one-to-one lessons, and the holiday short courses. She was nominated by a combination of pupils, parents, and work colleagues all of whom were impressed her dedication, enthusiasm, and commitment to her job.


More than 700 nominations were made nationwide and Melika will now go through to a regional semi-final. If she is successful, she will then go forward to a national judging day to take place at former Olympic venue, the London Aquatics Centre in Stratford.


The initiative is the brainchild of leisure operator and charitable social enterprise Better, which operates three centres in Hammersmith and Fulham and a total of more than 140 swimming pools across the UK. Better is the biggest provider of swimming lessons in the UK, employing over 1.400 swimming teachers and running more than 18,100 swimming lessons each week.


The Swimming Teacher of the Year Award is also being supported by the Swimming Teacher’s Association (STA) and Speedo, representatives of whom will make up part of the final judging panel.

Commenting on her win, Melika said, "I never actually knew that I was nominated and what I was nominated for. I found out first through the initial email that I received from the Community Sports Manager congratulating me. Then I talked to my managers and realised what had happened. It was a massive surprise to me to realise that they actually thought so highly of me and valued me so much as a swim teacher that they would go and nominate me for this award. I appreciate them and all my co-workers so much and it was such a sweet gesture and surprise to realise that they all felt the same way back towards me and thought of me as having such an important effect on the students, the centre, and the staff from my role as one of their swim teachers.


"Whether I win this award or not, I’m glad to have been able to see this new perspective. This nomination has really motivated me to continue always giving my best and being there for all my students. I’m really grateful for this."


She added, "I think the greatest thing about being a swim teacher is when you see just how much you’re affecting the kids and adults. After a while, they open up to you and they really trust you and have complete belief and faith in you, and when you clock on to that and realise it, it always hits you in the chest. You can tell they and the parents adore you and you equally start to care about each and every student, and when you see them progressing you can’t help but be overjoyed to be a part of it and to have helped them reach that point. It's all very heartwarming.”


Martin Marshall leisure centre manager Phoenix Fitness Centre and Janet Adegoke Swimming Pool added, “Melika is a very diligent and caring member of our team of swimming teachers. She has a high level of professionalism, as well as a high level of interest in the welfare and performance of her pupils. We are very proud to have Melika on our team, and owe her a debt of thanks for her great work developing the swim school from the front line.”